One in a January series of anecdotes and advice from our readers for keeping New Year's resolutions.
The resolution: To quit smoking.
How I did it: Back in 1980, my husband and I stupidly started smoking again. We skulked around like teenagers, hiding the habit from our kids until we were "outed" on a cross-country drive and then continued smoking for six years. We failed to stop several times, but finally resolved to quit on Dec. 31, 1986.
We filled a jar with butts and ashes, tallied the short list of cigarettes we actually enjoyed and made a list of pros and (mostly) cons of smoking. We stopped buying cigarettes and planned to smoke up our remaining supply on New Year's Eve. However, our nonsmoking neighbors invited us to share their hot tub and we refrained while with them. I still remember the tingling sensation in my fingertips when the nicotine from that last cigarette constricted wide-open capillaries (the same thing was happening to my heart).
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We ceremoniously destroyed the remaining cigarettes. To manage cravings, we smelled the "butt jar," practiced deep breathing and chewed lots of gum. Sadly, my twin brother didn't stop smoking until eight months before he died a very ugly, painful death from lung cancer and emphysema.
-- Nancy Smith, 64, Fort Worth
The resolution: To lose weight.
How I did it: My goal was to lose 35 pounds to get to the "chart weight" in the doctor's office. My appointment was on March 1. I asked the doctor if anybody ever weighed what the chart said. He said some do. When I went back for my follow up appointment on June 29, 2012, I had achieved my goal and weighed 182 pounds!
I did it by walking two miles a day, radically reducing my sugar intake and cutting back on calories. No official program, so it didn't cost a bunch of money. My blood-work report was the best ever. However, buying fruit does cost more than buying sugar products. And then there's the cost of smaller clothes, but that's a great result.
For me, it was all a matter of the mind. Every time the thought of eating something came up, I would say, "How many calories?" Then I would decide yes or no.
-- Don Miller, 62, Mansfield